My first use of the Plickers assessment app for SEN purposes was met with mixed results. Staff and students were intrigued, but too much support was required for the students to use the cards that are provided on the website in a meaningful way. The concept of holding the card up a certain way to ensure a letter was the right way round was not clear to most. The abstraction between an answer they knew and the letter depicted on the card is a concept that presents difficulties for most of my students.
Visible learning is not just about John Hattie. This is not to take away from Professor Hattie’s research, merely to say that creating visibility around student learning can redefine a learner’s understanding of the world. When in classes facilitating, I often open with the question “Do you know how many people in the world have access to the internet?” to which there are a myriad of guesses from the students. Very few get anywhere near the 3.1 billion internet users suggested by websites such as Internetlivestats.
Whether or not you subscribe to the digital native ideology or believe it’s a fallacy, on the whole our students today are more au fait with social media than ever before. Schools have become adept at limiting student access to social media and at managing their own accounts, but it’s often seen as an additional PR tool rather than a legitimate learning activity. Whilst I don’t believe that unrestricted access to Facebook in lessons is necessarily a valid form of pedagogy, I do think the concept of social media is a useful way to break down topics and help to engage students.
What is excellence and how do we achieve it? How can we take the secretarial out of excellence? You may have heard of Ron Berger and Austin’s Butterflies, showing the stages a boy goes through to create an excellent drawing of a butterfly. It’s an uplifting clip, reminding us how we need to teach our students the drafting process in the pursuit of excellence.
If students love revising, then they love learning and their progress will improve as a result. Therefore, to engage all students in revision we have been bringing it alive as a school. Here are five strategies we have used, particularly to ensure our most able students increase the depth of understanding needed as they chase their A*s.
The evolution of technology has brought with it numerous benefits. Education, in particular, has experienced a multitude of these benefits as technology continues to reach a variety of learners in many different ways. Silicon Valley has, in fact, been turning its attention to education more frequently. Technology education reached $1.87 billion last year (a 55% increase). So what does this mean for teachers?
In 2014, we saw the development and growth in adoption of online learning methods in both business and education. While the UK has been more reticent in implementing online learning programmes than the US, with the lift on student cap, British universities and schools will look for ways to become more international without juggling student capacity in order to compete – and online learning could be the answer. Beyond simply making documents available across devices, online learning or e-learning can ensure education is never compromised and becomes accessible whenever and wherever the student may be.